News

Rise in anti-social behaviour incidents

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

NEWRY, Mourne and Down had the third highest rise of anti-social behaviour incidents (7.2%) in Northern Ireland.

The figures, which were released by the PSNI, were taken between April and October this year and saw an increase of 226 incidents compared to the same period in 2016.

The total amount of anti-social behaviour incidents recorded in the Newry, Mourne and Down policing district was 3,346.

Newry, Mourne and Down's 7.2% rise in incidents was only behind Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon (7.8%) and Mid Ulster (19.2%).

Newry Councillor Michael Savage believes that, while the figures don't lie, it is up to local community representatives to come together and find viable solutions to anti-social behaviour.

The SDLP representative is hoping to hold a meeting with the local neighbourhood policing team in early 2018, to analyse the figures and "get to the bottom" of why they are on the rise.

"Is it down to the fact that there's been an increase in nuisance calls, is there a serious rise in anti-social behaviour, is it alcohol or substance abuse related or is it an issue in relation to the age profile of the people involved?" said Councillor Savage.

"If there is an issue with age profile, i.e. is it very young people involved, then there needs to be questions asked if parents know where their children are, especially with spring coming and the lighter evenings, there comes an escalation in those sort of figures in the summer months, when children are off school.

"I think sometimes, however, that we are quick to think that it is young people. Sometimes when you dig down into the figures it's not necessarily that."

Councillor Savage added that local councillors, community groups, the voluntary sector, police chiefs and the neighbourhood policing team must come together to "nail down" the source of the problem and find a solution.

"I don't think it's fair to provide a generic response to those figures, we have to be very specific in relation to analysing where this rise has come from, what's the nature of it and what's the profile of the people involved - really nail it down to what the source of the problem is and come up with solutions that are workable in the community," he said.

"We all want to live in a peaceful and harmonious community and the last thing anybody wants is anti-social behaviour on their doorstep.

"At the same time we need to look at the positives we have in our local communities. We have some community groups that do fantastic work in keeping young people, in particular, off the streets at night and giving them something to be involved in."

A police spokesperson stated that when reporting anti-social behaviour call the non-emergency number 101.

"Alternatively, information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 which is 100% anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime," added the spokesperson.

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